THE clergy at Rochester Cathedral has been criticised for installing a temporary mini-golf course in the nave.
Each hole on the nine-hole course features a miniature model bridge, based on real bridges across Britain, and is intended to inspire young people with an interest in civil engineering.
The Canon for Mission and Growth at the Cathedral, the Revd Rachel Phillips, said that the mini-golf was in line with the cathedral’s mission to educate, and its summer theme of “bridge-building”.
“As well as the physical bridge which has stood over the River Medway since Roman times, the invisible but equally historic links between the cathedral and the surrounding community are also bridges of a kind,” she said.
“We hope that, while playing adventure golf, visitors will reflect on the bridges that need to be built in their own lives and in our world today.”
Last year, the Archbishop of Canterbury told the National Cathedrals Conference to embrace the “fun” of their historic buildings (News, 21 September 2018).
“If you can’t have fun in a cathedral, do you really know what fun is?” he asked.
Some have condemned the attraction for opening the Church up to ridicule, but the cathedral said that worship services were unaffected by the mini-golf, and that there remained plenty of quiet spaces throughout the building to pray.
The golf course, which has been paid for by the Rochester Bridge Trust, will be free to play during the daytime and will be open throughout this month.